What are the fruits and vegetables that have no sodium, A normal diet should have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. However, not all fruits and vegetables can be eaten for their low sodium content. Our bodies need a certain amount of sodium. Sodium helps maintain body fluids, blood pressure, keeps muscles working properly, as well as playing a role in tissue maintenance.
Best Low Sodium Foods for a Healthy Heart, According to a Nutritionist
Could you be one of the 9 out of 10 Americans who consume too much salt? Although the Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams daily (about 1 teaspoon), most Americans far surpass that number. And the American Heart Association says even 2,300 milligrams is too much, advising that most American adults aim for a sodium limit of 1,500 milligrams daily.
Sodium is an essential nutrient that the body requires in small amounts, but eating too much of it can lead to high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke and even kidney disease. Since blood pressure generally rises as you get older, monitoring your sodium intake as you age is even more important.
But where is all of this sodium coming from? According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 25% of our sodium intake comes from restaurants where it can be challenging to see how much sodium is in your meal. Approximately 10% comes from home cooking and at the table, but a whopping 65% comes from food bought in stores where you have the ability to look for lower sodium choices.
There are also specific high-sodium foods to be mindful of if you are trying to prioritize your heart health; the American Heart Association has identified several popular foods known as the “salty six” that add high levels of sodium to the standard American diet. The most popular high sodium foods include breads and rolls, pizza, sandwiches, cold cuts and cured meats, soup, and burritos and tacos.
Opting for low-sodium foods, defined as 140 mg of sodium or less per serving, can help keep your salt intake at bay. Even choosing items labeled “reduced sodium” or “no salt added” can make a difference. But there are some foods that are naturally low in sodium that are worth incorporatin
1. Dry Peas and Beans
Beans, peas and lentils are all rich sources of plant-based protein and fiber that can significantly benefit heart health. Plus, they are naturally low in fat and free from cholesterol. Boiling dry legumes is a great option since they contain practically no sodium at all. Canned beans and legumes can be a convenient alternative but are often packed with excess salt, so opt for varieties that say “low-sodium” on the label like GH Seal Star Goya Low-Sodium Beans. You can also rinse or drain beans to reduce their sodium content.
Most fruits are low-sodium and some are even considered sodium-free. Apples, apricots, bananas, grapefruit, oranges and most berries are among the variety of sodium-free fruits. Not only are fruits a naturally low in sodium choice, but they are also chockfull of powerful antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber which can all support a healthy heart. Fruits add natural sweetness and flavor to practically any dish as well without the need for incorporating excess salt or sugar.
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In addition to supporting a healthy gut, research shows that this fermented dairy product may actually decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke. Plain yogurt is naturally low in sodium, but flavored varieties can sometimes sneak in added sugars and salt so be sure to check the nutrition label. Opt for plain yogurt when you can and sweeten it naturally with fruit. Greek yogurt packs in even more protein and can be a great heart-healthy diet option too.
4. Unsalted Nuts and Seeds
Nuts offer a satisfying crunchy texture and plant-based protein in every bite. Recent research indicates that individuals who regularly ate nuts had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Opt for unsalted and raw nut varieties when you can. If giving up salted nuts is a hefty task, try making your own mix of half salted nuts and half unsalted nuts to help cut down on sodium while still getting great flavor. Some super nutritious nuts like walnuts even contain omega-3 fatty acids that can also support a healthy heart and are worth incorporating into your trail mix recipe.
Both fruits and vegetables contain important nutrients that can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Some naturally sodium-free vegetables include asparagus, green beans, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic and squash. Research suggests that increasing your vegetable intake, especially with an emphasis on leafy greens like spinach and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, may provide the most significant heart health benefits. Preparation matters too, so when cooking veggies try to opt for steaming, air frying or roasting methods instead of deep frying and go easy with the salt shaker.
6. Ancient Grains
Farro, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, kamut, freekeh, barley, bulgur, quinoa… the list of nutrient-dense delicious ancient grains can go on and on. Dietary staples in many parts of the world, ancient grains are becoming increasingly popular in Western countries as they tend to be less processed than other more commonly widespread grains. You’ll notice that most ancient grains have little to no sodium content, making them a great choice for a low-sodium diet. But the key here again lies in preparation; try to prepare ancient grains with just plain water or using a low-sodium broth.
7. Herbs and Spices
An array of good quality herbs and spices can make all the difference in the kitchen, while also helping you dramatically cut down on added sugar and sodium in recipes. That’s because herbs and spices naturally add a ton of bright flavor and depth to dishes. Experiment with fresh herbs you may not be used to, like cooking with sage or trying out mint in a salad for vibrant flavor. Take a look at your spice cabinet and plan a meal around a spice that you normally wouldn’t reach for, like turmeric or cumin. When it comes to marinades and pre-made seasonings, sodium counts can creep up so it is best to make your own when you can. GH nutritionist-approved DASH seasonings have some innovative blends and marinades that are free from salt, making them a perfect staple in your heart-healthy pantry.
Lower-Sodium Foods: Shopping List
Most people eat much more sodium (salt) than they need. This can lead to health problems like high blood pressure. To lower the amount of sodium in your diet, follow these tips when you go food shopping:
- Choose fresh instead of processed foods when you can
- Use the Nutrition Facts label to check the amount of sodium — you can compare labels to find products with less sodium
- Look for foods labeled “low sodium” or “no salt added”
Take the list below with you the next time you go food shopping to help you choose foods that are lower in sodium.
Vegetables and Fruits
Buy plenty of vegetables and fruits, like:
- Any fresh fruits, like apples, oranges, or bananas
- Any fresh vegetables, like spinach, carrots, or broccoli
- Frozen vegetables without added butter or sauce
- Canned vegetables that are low in sodium or have no salt added — you can rinse them off to remove some of the sodium
- Low-sodium vegetable juice
- Frozen, canned, or dried fruits with no added sugars
Compare labels to find products with less sodium. Look for foods with 5% Daily Value (DV) or less for sodium. A DV of 20% or more is high.
Here are some good options to try:
- Whole grains like brown or wild rice, quinoa, or barley
- Whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta and couscous — just don’t add salt to the water when you cook it
- Whole-grain hot or cold breakfast cereals with no added sugars, like oatmeal or shredded wheat
- Unsalted popcorn or low-sodium chips and pretzels
- Whole-grain breads, bagels, English muffins, tortillas, and crackers
Choose fresh or frozen seafood, poultry, and meats instead of processed options. Some meat, poultry, and seafood has added sodium. If the package has a Nutrition Facts label, look for 5% DV or less.
Choose options like:
- Fresh or frozen fish or shellfish
- Chicken or turkey breast without skin or marinade
- Lean cuts of beef or pork
- Unsalted nuts and seeds
- Dried beans, peas, and lentils — like black beans and garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- Canned beans labeled “no salt added” or “low sodium” — rinse them off to remove some of the sodium
Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products, lactose-free dairy products, or fortified soy alternatives like:
- Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
- Fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt
- Low-sodium or reduced-sodium cheese — be sure to check the label since cheese can be high in sodium
- Soy milk or soy yogurt with added calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D
Dressings, Oils, and Condiments
When you cook, use ingredients that are low in sodium or have no sodium at all — for example:
- Unsalted margarine and spreads (soft, tub, or liquid) with less saturated fat than butter
- Vegetable oils (canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, or sunflower)
- Low-sodium salad dressing — or oil and vinegar
- Low-sodium or “no salt added” ketchup
- Low-sodium salsa or picante sauce
Try these seasonings instead of salt to flavor your food:
- Herbs, spices, or salt-free seasoning blends
- Chopped vegetables — like garlic, onions, and peppers
- Lemon and lime juice
List of Foods to Eat That Have Very Little or No Salt
An easy rule of thumb when it comes to choosing foods that have minimal amounts of salt is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s where you’ll find fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Use caution when shopping the interior aisles where processed, packaged foods tempt you with high sodium content, not to mention fats and sugar. Many foods have very little or no salt, including whole foods and minimally-processed options.
Fruits and Vegetables
With few exceptions, all fruits and vegetables have very little or no salt in their fresh, natural state. In fact, some produce has so little salt that they are termed sodium free. Canned products, on the other hand, are typically processed with added salt, and even the low-salt varieties of beans and vegetables have more salt than a typical person needs. Some examples of the fruits and vegetables that are considered sodium free include:
- green beans
- Romaine lettuce
- summer squash
Meat and Poultry
Beef, pork, chicken and other meats and poultry provide lots of healthy protein, and they can be low sodium choices if you choose which products to buy with an eye to reducing salt. Processed foods, such as bacon, deli meats and ham may contain lots of sodium. Read the labels carefully on the front and back of chicken or beef packages to see if the food was processed in a saline brine. Choose from the following products:
- fresh, unprocessed beef products
- fresh, unprocessed pork products, such as pork tenderloin
- fresh fish
- fresh poultry, packed without a saline brine
Eggs and Dairy Products
A whole, large egg has only 70 milligrams of sodium. Dairy products are not naturally low-sodium foods, but if you limit portion sizes and pick low-sodium options, you can limit the amount of salt you get. Low-sodium dairy products contain 140 milligrams or less per serving.
Most grains in their whole state — such as brown rice, white rice, bulgur, quinoa and oatmeal — contain almost no salt. Processed, instant oatmeal sold in packets, microwavable popcorn, pretzels, and other processed grains may contain far more salt, so buy the unprocessed varieties of those foods.
Because they contain healthy essential fatty acids and vitamin E, unsaturated fats belong in a healthy diet, and fortunately, many of the foods with these fats also contain very little salt. For example, canola oil, olive oil and almond are just a few of the healthy oils that have so little salt that they’re considered essentially sodium-free.
In the real world, it’s difficult to avoid highly salted processed foods completely. But if you read labels to find the amount of sodium per serving, it is possible to minimize the damage. Choose from these foods:
- low-sodium versions of any food, from canned beans, to cereals, broths, breads, cheese and condiments
- frozen vegetables without sauces
- items with the least amount of sodium listed on the label for that type of food, such as cold cereals or spaghetti sauces
- foods listing 35 milligrams or less sodium per serving on the label, which fall into the very low sodium category
Read labels to help ensure that you choose low-salt foods. When cooking, don’t forget to use fresh herbs and spices with a generous hand to add flavor without salt.
Low-Sodium Diet: Benefits, Food Lists, Risks and More
Sodium is an important mineral that performs many essential functions in your body.
It’s found naturally in foods like eggs and vegetables and is also a main component of table salt (sodium chloride).
Though it’s vital to health, dietary sodium is sometimes limited under certain circumstances.
For example, a low-sodium diet is commonly prescribed to people with certain medical conditions, including heart failure, high blood pressure and kidney disease.
This article explains why a low-sodium diet is necessary for some people and reviews benefits, risks and foods to avoid and eat.
What Is a Low-Sodium Diet?
Sodium is an essential mineral involved in many important bodily functions, including cellular function, fluid regulation, electrolyte balance and maintaining blood pressure
Because this mineral is vital to life, your kidneys tightly regulate its levels based on the concentration (osmolarity) of bodily fluids
Sodium is found in most foods you eat — though whole foods like vegetables, fruits and poultry contain much lower amounts.
Plant-based foods like fresh produce generally have less sodium than animal-based foods, such as meat and dairy products.
Sodium is most concentrated in processed and packaged foods like chips, frozen dinners and fast food where salt is added during processing to enhance flavor.
Another major contributor to sodium intake is adding salt to food when preparing meals in your kitchen and as a seasoning before eating.
A low-sodium diet limits high-sodium foods and beverages.
Healthcare professions typically recommend these diets to treat conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease.
Although there are variations, sodium intake is generally kept to less than 2–3 grams (2,000–3,000 mg) per day
For reference, one teaspoon of salt contains about 2,300 mg of sodium
When following a low-sodium diet, foods high in sodium must be limited or completely avoided to keep your sodium intake under the recommended level.
Healthcare professionals recommend low-sodium diets to treat certain medical conditions. Sodium levels are typically restricted to less than 2–3 grams (2,000–3,000 mg) per day.
Why Are Low-Sodium Diets Prescribed?
Low-sodium diets are some of the most commonly used diets in hospital settings.
This is because research shows that restricting sodium may help control or improve certain medical conditions.
Kidney disease, such as chronic kidney disease (CKD) or kidney failure, negatively impacts kidney function.
When your kidneys are compromised, they’re unable to effectively remove excess sodium or fluid from your body.
If sodium and fluid levels become too high, pressure builds in your blood, which can cause further damage to already compromised kidney
For these reasons, The National Kidney Foundation recommends that all people with CKD restrict their sodium intake to less than 2 grams (2,000 mg) per day
A review of 11 studies in people with CKD found that moderate sodium restriction significantly reduced blood pressure and protein in the urine (a marker of kidney damage)
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a risk factor for various conditions, including heart disease and stroke
A high-sodium diet has been linked to elevated blood pressure.
For example, a recent study in 766 people demonstrated that those with the highest urinary sodium excretion had the highest blood pressure level
Many studies have shown that reducing salt intake may help decrease high blood pressure in people with elevated levels.
Salt-sensitivity of people with high blood pressure varies widely and certain subgroups — such as African Americans — tend to be more impacted by high-salt diets
Nevertheless, low-sodium diets are commonly prescribed as a natural treatment for all people with high blood pressure.
Low-sodium diets are commonly recommended to those with heart conditions, including heart failure.
When your heart is compromised, kidney function declines, which can lead to sodium and water retentio
Eating too much salt could cause fluid overload in people with heart failure and lead to dangerous complications, such as shortness of breath.
Regulatory agencies recommend that people with mild heart failure limit their sodium intake to 3,000 mg per day while those with moderate to severe heart failure should reduce their intake no more than 2,000 mg daily
However, while many studies have shown that low-sodium diets benefit those with heart failure, others have noted that non-restrictive diets lead to better outcomes.
For example, a study in 833 people with heart failure found that a sodium-restricted diet with less than 2,500 mg per day was associated with a significantly higher risk of death or hospitalization than unrestricted-sodium diets